Sunday, February 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Incompetence

Frank Rich's examination of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the Democrat nomination has some interesting facts on the campaign's incompetence:

The gap in hard work between the two campaigns was clear well before Feb. 5. Mrs. Clinton threw as much as $25 million at the Iowa caucuses without ever matching Mr. Obama’s organizational strength. In South Carolina, where last fall she was up 20 percentage points in the polls, she relied on top-down endorsements and the patina of inevitability, while the Obama campaign built a landslide-winning organization from scratch at the grass roots. In Kansas, three paid Obama organizers had the field to themselves for three months; ultimately Obama staff members outnumbered Clinton staff members there 18 to 3.

In the last battleground, Wisconsin, the Clinton campaign was six days behind Mr. Obama in putting up ads and had only four campaign offices to his 11. Even as Mrs. Clinton clings to her latest firewall — the March 4 contests — she is still being outhustled. Last week she told reporters that she “had no idea” that the Texas primary system was “so bizarre” (it’s a primary-caucus hybrid), adding that she had “people trying to understand it as we speak.” Perhaps her people can borrow the road map from Obama’s people. In Vermont, another March 4 contest, The Burlington Free Press reported that there were four Obama offices and no Clinton offices as of five days ago. For what will no doubt be the next firewall after March 4, Pennsylvania on April 22, the Clinton campaign is sufficiently disorganized that it couldn’t file a complete slate of delegates by even an extended ballot deadline.

(The Frank Rich piece is worth reading in its entirety because it is such a scathing, relentless attack on Clinton. When the MSM finally turns on one it has been protecting for years, the result is just brutal.)

Who would have thought Hillary Clinton would run an incompetent campaign? Could it be that she was so overconfident that she became complacent and lazy?

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. Look what happened to the health care plan she was in charge of in the first two years of the Clinton Presidency. Remember what a disaster that was? It led to the Republicans taking over the House of Representatives in 1994, after which the Clinton Presidency was never the same. Bill Clinton was reduced to declaring that the era of big government was over and talking about uniforms for school children.

Imagine what a botch of things this woman would have made in the Oval Office. Jimmy Carter must be cursing his bad luck. Hillary Clinton might have set a new standard for presidential incompetence that made Carter look good by comparison.

UPDATE: Patterico notes that the MSM are now treating Hillary Clinton they way they usually treat Republicans. This must be the most devastating blow to the Clintons, who have relied on the media being with them.

UPDATE II: Andrew Sullivan on Hillary Clinton:

Clinton is a terrible manager of people. Coming into a campaign she had been planning for, what, two decades, she was so not ready on Day One, or even Day 300. Her White House, if we can glean anything from the campaign, would be a secretive nest of well-fed yes-people, an uncontrollable egomaniac spouse able and willing to bigfoot anyone if he wants to, a phalanx of flunkies who cannot tell the boss when things are wrong, and a drizzle of dreary hacks like Mark Penn. Her only genuine skill is pivoting off the Limbaugh machine (which is now as played out as its enemies). Her new weapon is apparently bursting into tears. I mean: really.


Dismuke said...

In retrospect, the very widespread view of the inevitability of Clinton's nomination, which I certainly accepted, was based on rather soft sand to begin with.

One of the premises that has been shot out of the water but really never had much foundation to begin with was that the Clintons are experts when it comes to conducting campaigns.

But let's look at that for a moment.

Before the campaign of 1992 got underway, the first George Bush had approval ratings of 90 percent after the Gulf War and the conventional wisdom was that Bush's election was inevitable.

The result was that the alleged "A list" Democratic presidential hopefuls such as Mario Cumo decided to sit 1992 out figuring they would have a better shot once Bush's term ended in 1996.

So when Bill Clinton won the nomination in 1992 - while that is certainly an accomplishment, especially given the skeletons in his closet which were starting to come out - he did so running against other second tier hopefuls.

What nobody realized when Bush's popularity was riding high after the Gulf War was that the guy was a very weak President, an empty suit lacking in any ability to stick with principles and would back down and appease at the drop of a hat. This is the man who publicly admitted that Margaret Thatcher had to remind him not to "go wobbly." This is the man who would not give moral support when the Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia declared their independence from Soviet occupation on grounds that the "did not want to make the wrong mistake." This is a man who, for a long while, was in a difficult campaign with Michael Dukakis who was about as pathetic as you can get. Bush won the election on the coattails of Reagan and, ironically, because Dan Rather, of all people, went into a deranged emotional rant which was a softball for Bush answer back creating the much needed (but false) impression that he actually had some sort of spine.

In other words, Bush had all the traits of a person who can be walked all over when the going gets tough - and that is, of course, what happened.

Leftists often fail to see such weaknesses in Republicans and have an exaggerated view of their alleged strengths. This is because the Republicans are, at least by reputation, more comfortable channeling with that horrible, evil, oppressive and very unjust thing called reality that the Leftists deep down realize is potent in this world but that they don't like to think about because it makes them uncomfortable and makes their wonderful and enlightened emotions feel less real.

So in 1992, Bill Clinton got the nomination in a field of weak Democratic contenders. After the primaries, he was up against an opponent whose weaknesses were becoming increasingly and embarrassingly obvious. Then, based on Bush's weakness, Perot enters the field and basically hands the election to Clinton.

Had Perot not entered the race, Bush, as weak and wounded as he was - not Clinton - would likely have won.

So, when one looks at it in retrospect, Clinton beating Bush in 1992 was NOT a major upset that resulted from the Clinton's brilliance. Clinton had a LOT of very lucky breaks that came along for him at just the right time - and the major accomplishment of his campaign was not to blow them as a result of his bimbo eruptions.

If the Clinton's thought that they won the election because of their brilliance - well, that is a distortion of reality that is now proving fatal to them.

Fast forward to 1996. Clinton had lost control of both houses of Congress and had pretty much failed at everything that he said he wanted to do. And yet he won re-election when, had he had any opposition with an ounce of backbone, he would have ended being another Jimmy Carter.

Once again, the Republicans handed him another victory but putting up a candidate who was even weaker then the first Bush: Bob Dole.

Now let's go to 2000. Hillary runs for senate. She does so not in her own state but in a state with a conveniently open seat that she and her advisers had cherry picked as being hopelessly Leftist. And, unlike most Senate candidates, she was already a celebrity and had lots and lots of wealthy Hollywood and other elite donors - so much so that Algore had trouble raising money for his presidential bid. When Guilianni pulled out of the race, she went up against someone with far less name recognition and political connections.

Her reelection to the Senate in 2006 was basically a cakewalk.

Thus, for the past 16 years, the Clintons have never been through a genuinely tough campaign with opposition that they could not simply walk right over. The Clintons became very good at walking over weak Republican opponents - just accuse them of being mean and selfish and let the media amplify that message over and over again.

But that tactic does not work against a fellow Democrat. The Clintons know how to smell blood in the water in the form of Republican timidity and moral weakness and they know how to exploit it to the fullest. But they have never been up against an opponent who speaks with confidence - and while his words are essentially empty, Obama does project an air of moral confidence when he utters them.

If you look at the previous campaigns the Clintons have run since they left Arkansas - they have been damn lucky to have weak opponents. Such luck does not last forever. Tell a kid with merely average ability that he is a child prodigy and allow him to believe it to be true - well, the kid is going to be in for a very painful fall once he grows up and gets into the real word. That is basically what the media types and the Clinton spin machine has been saying for years - and apparently Bill and Hillary believed it and are now paying the price.

And, since Obama has yet to encounter any scandal that has knocked him out of the race, that means Hillary's researchers have not found much dirt besides that kindergarten essay. And the fact that Obama has not met with any sort of "unfortunate accident" that would make him physically unable to continue means that either nobody is willing to carry it out or the chances of getting caught are just way too high - otherwise such an "accident" would have presumably happened by now. I have no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is capable of and would resort to such a measure if she could do so without getting caught. After all, you can't have an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

In other words, the only thing the Clintons know how to do is exploit Republican weakness, look through FBI files for damaging dirt/blackmail, and use force/intimidation. All of that is hard to do when the target is a fellow Democrat. The only thing left in their playbook is cheating - which they are apparently scheming to do with the delegate count.

Anonymous said...

In any competition between people with the same basic principles, the more consistent one wins.

Because Obama has stuck to abstractions without getting into the gory details, he's managed to come across as more consistent than Hillary Clinton.

I think this also means Obama will defeat McCain. McCain shares far too many statist principles with Obama, and will come across as less consistent.

Mike N said...

I think your judgement of the Clinton's and Bush one's character are right on. I've always thought the Clintons had been up against really weak opponents, that they are unprincipled pragmatists, and would not hesitate to use force against anyone deemed to be a threat to them.

Anon: You are right of course that Obama seems to be the more consistent one and this consistency should get him the nomination. However, I heard Rush Limbaugh say that it doesn't matter how many delegates Obama gets, Hillary will be the nominee. According to him, she will attack Obama's delegates with promises of the moon and more and failing that with threats of who knows what kind. I tend to agree with this. In fact I think Hillary's people could very well be trying to dig up dirt on Obama delegates right now. I wouldn't put it past her.

Now I hear that Nader wants to run for president and that will most assuredly give the election to McCain. It seems that Nader wants to punish the Democrats for not being statist enough and will be just as happy to see McCain--who is statist enough--in power.


Anonymous said...

I am one of those who has never believed that, short of some type of "Key Largo" chicanery in the back rooms of the Party (which may yet come to pass if some of the press reports are to be believed), Mrs. Clinton would ever be the Democrat nominee. Her negatives continue to swamp whatever positives she has . . . well there you have it: she doesn't have any positives worth discussing. This must contribute to the fact that she is also viscerally disliked by members of her own party and, if my reading of them is correct, most of the people in the country irrespective of party affiliation. As I see it, with these factors working against her, the idea of Mrs. Clinton's being elected to the Presidency, even in the unlikely event she were to become the Democrat nominee, was and continues to be a virtual no-go from the start. Her arrogance in evading these quite obvious realities speaks volumes as to the disastrous thing a Hillary Clinton presidency would have been.